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DRGW SM #39120, 39293 and 391** [DRGW Equipments PA]

drgw39120_02.jpg: DRGW 39120

These D&RGW stock cars were found at Wasson, a siding 2.6 miles from Creede. Barely remained numbers on ends suggest these cars as #39120, 39293 and an unidentified from left to right in the photo above. I believe these are the only existing standard gauge D&RGW stock cars.

drgw39120_03.jpg: DRGW 39120
drgw39120_04.jpg: DRGW 391**

According to Morning Sun Color Guide(MSCG) to Rio Grande, 39100 – 39199 series SM were built between 1939 and 1940, and 39200 – 39399 series SM were built between 1944 and 1945. The unidentified car seems the one another from the series 39100 – 39199 according to the barely read built-date on it.

drgw39120_06.jpg: DRGW 39293

Resources for these Rio Grande standard gauge stock cars are few, contrary to the narrow gauge equipments. Chuck Conway writes that the Rio Grande stock cars were condemned in the 70’s and sold to a scrapper near Alamosa[1]. These cars seem escaped from there.

D&RGW 39100 – 39399 series Stock Cars:
The Official Railway Equipment Register for July 1974 shows the group with only 21 cars of possible 300 cars in place, described as follows:

The D&RGW series 39100 to 39399 is shown with AAR Designation SM and description “Stock” only.

The inside length of these cars is 36 feet 6 inches, inside width 8 feet 10 inches, inside height 8 feet 8 inche, outside length 39 feet 4 inches, extreme height 13 feet 5 inches and capacity 2800 cubic feet or 88,000 pounds.

All photos taken on Sep. 7, 2017

[1] Conway, Chuck (1987) “Last roundup”, August 1987 Trains, Kalmbach Publishing

drgw39120_05.jpg: DRGW 391** and NG stock car

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Creede Depot [DRGW Facilities PA]


This is one of the Rio Grande original facilities remained along its route in Colorado; the depot at Creede.

According to Denver & Rio Grande Western Depots Volume 2 by Clive Carter, Creede depot was built in 1893 with one-story frame structure of wood singles roof, board and batten wall and wood singles gable ends. It was retired in 1961. Today, museum occupies the structure.

Former right of way in front of the depot is used as lumber yard by a local building material supplier. Two-room outhouse also survives to this day.

The branch reached Creede in 1892 and converted to standard gauge in 1902[1]. The last train left the depot in 1969, and the segment between Creede and South Folk was abandoned in 1999.

The county seat of Mineral County, former mining town Creede was incorporated in 1892, the same year rail reached the town. The mines behind the town produced gold, silver and copper, later lead and zinc ores until 1985.

All photos taken on Sep. 7, 2017

[1] Holmes, Nathan D., (2009) “D&RG/D&RGW Creede Branch History” DRGW.Net;

creede_03.jpg: N Main St & Wall St, Creede

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Timber Trestle Bridges on D&RGW Creede Branch [DRGW Facilities PA]

creede_01.jpg: Commodore Mine, Creede, CO.

Here, the term bridge is "a structure that carries transportation infrastructure over an obstruction" and the term trestle is "a rigid framework using pairs of legs to support a bridge".

The photo above shows familiar type of timber trestle bridge found at a mine near Creede, CO. Timbers were also heavily used to build structures in this part of D&RGW network in southern Colorado. However, timber trestle bridges on D&RGW Creede Branch show another type. Here you see how different they are:

Bridge built in 1892 at milepost 312.72 spanning namesake Rio Grande near Wagon Wheel Gap shows the example. This ten span girder bridge has heavy timber stringers. Trestles made of piles and timbers are covered with planks to the top like a snowplow to let pass through various things floating down the river.


The trestles of the similar bridge further up the Rio Grande east of Wasson wye are half way covered up with planks, as the trestles are taller than the former. This bridge was also built in 1892. Notice the telephone booth/outhouse on the bank.


It seems the raging mining development upper stream caused substantial driftwoods. My idea is that D&RGW chose not familiar type but long span bridges with lesser trestles arranged parallel to the stream to avoid driftwoods to be piled up. The snowplow-like covers added on trestles are the grounds of my idea.

All photos taken on Sep. 7, 2017

creede_02.jpg: results of mining development at Creede, CO.

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Colorado River Bridge [DRGW Facilities PA]

colorado-river-bridge_01.jpg: Sep. 11, 2017 Grand Junction, CO

This 730 feet 5 span Parker(camelback) through truss bridge spans the Colorado River at Grand Junction, Colorado[1]. It was built in 1884 to haul D&RG narrow gauge route between Montrose and Grand Junction completed in 1882. The route was later standard gauged in 1906.

We can find some weird constructions in this bridge; considered later conversions.

First of all, the portal strut slips off the top chord. The portal strut and bracing set is mounted to the end post through thin gusset plates sticking out from the top chord. The set itself seems a substitute, as the member used is different from the others.

Also is that another lateral strut and bracing set seems added to original lateral bracing: the member and style of the addition are completely different from the original. These conversions already appear in 1960 photos[2].

The bridge was one of the longest in the entire D&RGW system. And, maybe is one of the oldest among surviving D&RGW iron bridges, too.

[1] Baugan, James “UP – Colorado River Bridge (Grand Junction)” web page;
[2] Ozment, Jim (1960) “bridge on Colorado River @ Grand Junction” Western Rail Images web page;

colorado-river-bridge_02.jpg: Sep. 11, 2017 Grand Junction, CO

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DRGW HT #12548 [DRGW Equipments PA]

drgw_12548_01.jpg: Cisco, UT. Sep. 10, 2017

This D&RGW quad hopper car is found at Cisco, Utah.

According to the book Morning Sun Color Guide to Rio Grande, D&RGW #12548 is one of 12500-12849 series HT built in 1982 by Bethlehem Steel Car Co. Preceding are 12000-12499 series built in 1979, the 19000 series built from 1975 and the 16000 series built from 1964.

It still keeps the original reporting mark and number but lost the stacked flying Rio Grande logo. N scale model of this series of cars were produced by Trainworx.

D&RGW 12500-12849 series Hopper Cars:
The D&RGW series 12500 to 12849 is shown with AAR Designation HT and description “Hop., Stl., Quadruple Hop.”

The inside length of these cars is 47 feet 11 inches, inside width 9 feet 9 inches, inside height 8 feet 1 inche, outside length 54 feet 1 inches, extreme height 14 feet 6 inches and capacity 3483 cubic feet or 200,000 pounds.

* 2008 photo of the exact car found at RR Picture Archives site;
* 2010 photo of DRGW #12550 with the flying logo found at RR Picture Archives site;

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Two-Lane Blacktop, part 2 – Highway Bridges surrounding Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

highway-bridge_02.jpg: Nash Wash, Hwy and the Bridge in 1971 movie “Vanishing Point” still
highway-bridge_01.jpg: Cisco Wash, Hwy and the Bridge

The town of Cisco is guarded by washes from both directions, east and west: Danish Wash lies on the east and Cisco Wash lies on the west.

After the designation of US Hwy 50, the conventional Midland Trail through Cisco was reconstructed in 1931[1]. The new bridges spanning the washes were constructed at the same time, therewith freed Cisco from isolation.

However, when a rezoning of Cisco to a heavy Industrial use was planned time after time since the 80’s, the ages and the weight limits of the bridges on old US Hwy 50 & 6 were always one of the concerns[2]. Accordingly, it can be said that these bridges ironically have been contributed to the isolating of Cisco against economic wave.

Here, I introduce those vintage highway bridges found near Cisco, one each from periods respectively:

All photos taken on Sep. 10, 2017


Cisco Wash Bridge was built in 1949 with concrete rigid frame, to replace the old bridge built when US Hwy 50 was constructed[3]. Its longest span is 82.0 ft. and width of the deck is 26.2 ft[4]. 2012 Google street view shows weight limit of 30 tons on road sign attached to it. However it is reduced to only 11 tons when I visited in 2017.


Danish Wash Trib 3 Bridge was built in 1931 with steel stringer. Its longest span is 25.9 ft. and width of the deck is 24.0 ft[5]. It has weight limit of 18 tons according to the road sign attached to it.

1930_conoco-map.jpg: 1930 Conoco road map

Thompson Wash Bridge on old Valley City Road was built in 1919 with steel stringer. Its longest span is 28.9 ft. and width of the deck is 16.1 ft[6]. The road sign attached to it says "LEGAL LOADS ONLY".

This bridge seems the oldest surviving highway bridge in this region; the oldest seems the burnt Dewey Bridge built in 1916[7]. Valley City Road is the remnant of Midland Trail/US Hwy 50 between Thompson and the now evaporated Valley City, designated at least until 1933[8, 9]. Accordingly, this section of the road and the bridge tells us how the Midland Trail was in its heyday.

[1] Apr. 30, 1931 Times Independent;
[2] Jul. 16, 2009 Times independent;
[3] Nov. 27, 1941 Times Independent;
[4] webpage for Cisco Wash Bridge;
[5] webpage for Danish Wash Trib 3 Bridge;
[6] webpage for Thompson Wash Bridge;
[7] webpage for Dewey Bridge;
[8] Dec. 28, 1933 Times Independent;
[9] Sanderson, Dale (2003) "Historic US Highway ends in and near Crescent Jct, UT" mapguy;

highway-bridges_map.jpg: map of bridges around Cisco

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